Newsletter | Where to Start when Developing an Employee Handbook

February 12, 2018by Lisa Philp

An employee handbook can be a valuable communication resource for both the employer and the employee. It provides guidance and information related to the organization’s history, mission, values, policies, procedures and benefits in a written format. It is also viewed as a means of protecting the employer against discrimination or unfair treatment claims. It is an easily accessible guide to the company’s policies and practices as well as an overview of the expectations of management.
In contrast, a policy is a written statement that reflects the employer’s standards and objectives relating to various employee activities and employment-related matters.
Employers should require every employee to provide a written acknowledgment of having received the handbook. The acknowledgment should be saved in an employee’s personnel file as a way for the organization to establish that the employee was made aware of the policies. By no means should the handbook be construed as an employment agreement, which may affect the employment-at-will status. It is imperative to have the handbook reviewed by legal counsel.

Step 1: Review and Make Required Revisions to the Current Company Policies

Employers should scan the work environment for common practices that are currently in place; if there are no policies, they should be developed.

Step 2: Create an Outline of What to Include in the Employee Handbook

1. About the Practice/Owner
2. Company Policies & Procedures
3. Benefits & Rewards
4. Legislative & Health and Safety Policies

Step 3: Create Summarized Versions of Each Policy and Procedure

The employee handbook should include a statement that summarizes each policy and procedure. The statements should be easy to read and contain no legal verbiage—in other words, they should speak to the employee audience and be formulated accordingly.

Step 4: Review the Entire Handbook

The review process ensures that the information is accurate and easy to comprehend. The handbook may be reviewed by the owner, manager, a project team, an outside coach and any or all of the above.

About the Author:
Kris Grover BA, CHRP, CHRL,
TGNA Team and Human Resources Coach

Kris Grover will be presenting the Introduction to Human Resources workshop on March 22 & 23, 2018.

For more information, please visit:

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Lisa Philp